Calleen Cordero Boutique

Best Leather Goods, September 2005

Looking around the new Calleen Cordero Boutique on Beverly Boulevard, it’s hard to imagine that every studded belt, platform shoe, and suede bag is handmade in a North Hollywood factory. Calleen Cordero, a 39-year-old single mother of two, may have started in her garage five years ago, but now her signature line sells throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Unlike the competition, she sells each of her collections as a limited run, and you won’t see the same designs in every store. “I like to use sensational materials that aren’t mass-produced,” says Cordero. Indeed, we watched a 15-foot wood plank being turned into carved wedge heels, sandal straps crafted from a slab of metallic leather detailed with cutouts, and belts meticulously nailed with weathered nickel and brass studs. Another irresistible feature: Every shoe is built for comfort, whether it’s with a padded insole or a hollowed wedge or an arch support.